Everything’s Gone Green

Everythings gone green (remember the song by New Order in the 1980′s?) in the lanes of south Devon… rich deep green, acid green, sage green, sea green, emerald green, neon green and bottle green… an ancient word, with the same root as ‘grene’ which is a Germanic word meaning ‘growth’ and ‘grass’.  Anyway, its all green here at the moment… beautiful green..

The Green lanes of Devon

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Self-Catering Photography in Cornwall

Just photographed this cute little place in St Ives last week… handy for the beach and perfect for a family.  This is Kittiwake Cottage and I shot it in half a day.  Luckily we had sun (a helpful ingredient when shooting a holiday house!) and the place was beautifully clean, tidy and up-together (thanks to Charlotte).. nice little half dayer ;-)

Photography of Self Catering house in Cornwall

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Billingham Camera Bag

I am bereft! my one and only, fabulously worn and carefully knackered Billingham camera bag is nearly dead.  I have loved this bag for thirty years (bought in my gap year whilst working at Tecno Cameras… anyone remember them??)… like no other bag, it has survived my disregard, my hooliganism and my constant travel… there have been Domke, Calumet, Manfrotto, and Lowepro bags, but nothing like my old Billingham.  It’s been to America, Italy, France.  Cornwall, Devon, Wales and Norfolk.  Canada, Westonbirt, Andalucia and the coffee shop up the road.  I love it, and I don’t want to see it go.  Do Billingham really have a ‘lifetime guarantee’… let’s find out?

My Beloved Billingham Camera Bag

 

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Salcombe Harbour Hotel Photography

Salcombe Harbour Hotel Photography

 

For many years I have been to, and loved, the town of Salcombe in sunny (!) south Devon.  I even used to work there as a teenager (in the bakery on the high street, and as car park attendant at the South Sands Hotel).  So, it was a nice surprise for me to get the job of photographing the new hotel development of the old Marine Hotel, now called the Salcombe Harbour Hotel, for the  designers, DoDesign.  As the interior designers, they’ve done a brilliant job updating and invigorating what had become a tired old place… it’s now a cool and sophisticated place to stay, with a great Spa and restaurant, exciting bar and beautiful bedrooms… hard for it to not to be a nice set of pictures really!

Salcombe Harbour Hotel Photography

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Masseria Photography in Puglia for Homes and Gardens

I shot this a few years back for Homes and Gardens… just found it in my ‘must file this properly’ folder (!)… what a lovely place it was to photograph! and I could do with some of that warmth now!  right in the middle of the olive groves of Puglia…. one of the most remote and rugged parts of Italy (the foot bit at the bottom)… thanks Claire and Frazer for making it such a fun shoot (hic…)

Masseria in Puglia, Italy

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Interior Photography Wales

Interior Photography in Wales

Had a great few days in West Wales recently, photographing with a company called GW of St Clears.  They are an old family company specialising in interior design, kitchens and bathrooms, and they supply many of the best products… Mandarin Stone, Cole and Son, Bosch, Nina Campbell, Gazco and so on.  Not only that,  they have their own granite workshop where they make worktops for their kitchens.  We travelled around the beautiful countryside of West Wales visiting numerous houses where the company had installed kitchens and bathrooms and supplied fabrics, furniture and flooring. Part of my job was to photograph members of staff, the workshops and the showroom.

Interior Photography for GW of St Clears, Wales

Despite potentially being a little ‘out on a limb’ in the far west of Wales, this company have realised that their website and social media outlets ( Facebook and Twitter) are integral to their prosperity, and as part of that, they need excellent photography… which is where I come in, I hope ;-). We tried to create informal, clean and contemporary images.  This can be tricky when you are using existing bits and bobs as props while shooting someone’s living space.  ’Less is more’ helps as does careful positioning of furniture so that one can concentrate on the bare bones of the design allowing the original design intention to shine through… 

Interior-Photography-Wales

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The writing shed where Dylan Thomas wrote

I have just returned from working in West Wales and have spent some time in the lovely town of Laugharne…. this is where the famous ‘Boathouse’ is, and also the writing shed where he wrote many of his most famous works (including ‘Under Milk Wood’).  So atmospheric, I even saw a heron, lazily flapping across the water…
The shed at the Dylan Thomas Boat House

 

‘Poem in October’
It was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
      And the mussel pooled and the heron
                  Priested shore
            The morning beckon
With water praying and call of seagull and rook
And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall
            Myself to set foot
                  That second
      In the still sleeping town and set forth.

 

      My birthday began with the water-
Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
      Above the farms and the white horses
                  And I rose
            In rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.
High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
            Over the border
                  And the gates
      Of the town closed as the town awoke.

 

      A springful of larks in a rolling
Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling
      Blackbirds and the sun of October
                  Summery
            On the hill’s shoulder,
Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly
Come in the morning where I wandered and listened
            To the rain wringing
                  Wind blow cold
      In the wood faraway under me.

 

 

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Fuji X-Pro1 camera test

Fuji X-Pro1 camera test

 

I have found what I have been looking for! I have had Canon G6, G7, G9 G10, G11 and G1x, I’ve had Fuji x100, Canon S90, Sony RX100, Ive had Olympus Pen EP1, I’ve had Coolpixs, I’ve had Iphone 5 (!) and I’ve had Holgas and Lomo… My work kit is a Canon 6d and 5d2 but I can’t settle on a ‘carry round camera’ (snap camera, spare camera, party camera, travel camera etc etc)….until now!  I LOVE the Fuji X-Pro 1.

Before you say it, I know its much much more than a ‘snappy’ camera, its a whole system, capable of top quality results.  But I love it because its small, light and easy to carry, it has a range of lenses available, and it is extremely well made…. it feels ‘heavy’ (in a good way!), its metal and it looks beautiful.  It harks back to the Rangefinder cameras of the past, and looks (a bit) like an old Leica…

I have the 18mm f2 wide angle lens, the 35mm f1.4 ‘standard’ lens and the 60mm macro lens… it has an APS size sensor, and optical or electronic viewfinder.  I am not, in the slightest bit, a techy person, and this is not a proper camera ‘test’ (go here to the best reviewers there are, for a full test) but I do use my cameras a lot.  My images are used in magazines, books and websites, and my agents, Corbis, Getty, Alamy, GapPhotos etc distribute my pictures all over the world, so a camera has to hold its own to keep its place on my camera bag! (a Billingham by the way… 30 years old and still going!).
Flower Photography

 

Flower Photography

All the images above were shot with the 60 mm macro lens, and being a user of Canon equipment, and a shooter of flowers, the macro is a very important lens in my set up.  I was astonished at the quality of the pictures. These were shot at Bristol Botanic Gardens, without a tripod, handheld using manual focus (yes it can manual focus… essential for close ups I think)… they are sharp, and with a wide aperture, you can get that lovely ‘Bokeh’ effect.

The 35mm lens has a really fast aperture (1.4) which makes it ideal for a ‘party’ snap camera, or for low light shots… These were taken in The Pigs Nose Inn, East Prawle in Devon… no flash, just a wide aperture and 1600 ISO.. the quality at even 3200 ISO is something to behold!

Pub Photography in low light

and the sharpness of the lens really is wonderful…

Close up photography

 

Mid range shot with XF35 f1.4

The wide angle 18mm f2 is great for interiors work (something I do a lot of) and this image was shot at high ISO in Laurie Lee’s old haunt, the Woolpack in Slad, Goucestershire… its crisp and clean, the lines are straight and there’s very little, if any, distortion.  Its a handheld shot, and again, the high ISO is barely visible.  A short drive away, at Painswick, is the lovely topiary in the church graveyard.  the 18mm lens at f8 captures the whole spire and a tiny bit of perspective correction in lightroom helps produce a sellable stock image…

Pub Photography in low light

 

Painswick with the Fuji XPro 1

As I said, I am not in the least a techy person, and I confess to not really reading most camera tests (!), but this post is just a ‘gut reaction’ to what I see as a brilliant camera… I know what I like, and need, in terms of camera gear, and this absolutely fits the bill for me at the moment.  More important than anything, in my view, is that I LOVE using it.  My most recent camera acquisition, before the X-Pro1, was the Sony RX100… I kept it for 4 months before getting rid of it… The X-Pro 1 is obviously a different beast entirely, but I can assure you that it will still be in my camera bag for a while to come!

 

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Interior Product Photography for Mandarin Stone

I just picked up a copy of the latest Mandarin Stone brochure, packed with some lovely photography , a lot of it mine! ;-) and I think they’ve done a great job with the design and feel of it.  Lots of helpful info, nice to look at and some good background information about the company, who are 25 years old this year.  When photographing these interiors (some exteriors too) its helpful to have a good stylist, and in this case it was Louisa Morgan (one of the Mandarin family) who moved things around and ‘placed’ lovely looking props… shot with mostly natural light, and carefully styled, these interiors look soft, relaxed and smart… perfect for the product in fact!

Photography of Mandarin Stone products in interiors

 

Interior Product Photography for Mandarin Stone

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Alamy Stock Photography

I joined Alamy shortly after they were set up in 1999 (in fact I was one of a few photographers actually called by the startup agency and asked to join!) and I have contributed regularly since then.  I’m not one of the ‘big fish’ at Alamy (some photographers have hundreds of thousands of images online with Alamy, but I have a mere 10k!), and I split my images with different agencies (Getty have a lot, as do Corbis, and I supply a lot of specialist agencies, notably GapPhotos).  I love the diversity of sites like Alamy and can spend many hours trawling through… It may not seem like work, but I seriously see ‘looking at pictures’ as an important part of my daily routine… I used to spend ages in WH Smith doing the same thing, but the joy of the internet is that you can do it at home, with a cup of coffee to hand!  its an inspiring site, and I have achieved many big sales through the years.  Unfortunately these days the sales are a lot smaller than they used to be and its more of a numbers game…. go and check them out… anyway, heres part of my latest submission, currently uploading…
Stock Photography for Alamy

Click here to see all my images at Alamy…
Stock photography by mark bolton at Alamy

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